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I should have allowed more wriggle room in my running goals.

My cold turned into bronchitis and I haven’t been running in almost a week.  I had to resort to antibiotics – which I hate taking, but as I have a history of developing pneumonia I have be safe rather than sorry.  It was touch and go last week as to whether I would be well enough to go away on Tuesday for a mini-holiday.  We’d planned to house-sit for my best friend R who lives out in the countryside.  I was so looking forward to it, and was determined to go.

I stupidly forgot to take my antibiotics with me, but thought ‘meh, I’ll be ok.  I’m feeling much better anyway’.  WRONG.  I managed to go for a good run on Wednesday, but it was clear by Thursday afternoon that I was not getting better.  In fact, I got a whole lot worse.  It was gross.  Fortunately I was able to get more antibiotics on Friday.  I’m now feeling almost human again – apart from freaking out at all the earthquakes we’re experiencing here in Wellington – and plan to resume running on Wednesday.  I’d go tomorrow but D is getting up at ridiculous o’clock (he has a job interview with an American IT company) and I need to be on hand in case Eloise wakes up.

Anyhow, R lives near a city called Palmerston North.  It’s a pretty typical New Zealand city.  While we were there I went shopping in their mall as Eloise needed some new clothes.  She is growing like a weed and is almost in one year old clothing despite being six months old!  She’s going to be so tall…

It’s school holidays here at the moment so the mall was packed with kids and their parents.  I noticed something that I’ve heard bandied about a lot in the media, but hadn’t appreciated for myself.

We’re fat.  Our kids are fat.

fat shirt

It was like scales had fallen from my eyes.  Almost everywhere I looked there were fat parents with their fat kids.  Not just plump, but fat.  I’m fat too, so I feel I can say these things.  Most of the kids were chowing down on something unhealthy, or guzzling energy drinks (don’t get me started on how terrible those things are).  The kids looked SICK.  Sallow skin, spotty skin, stringy hair.  I thought ‘My God, if I don’t sort my sh*t out, that will be Eloise’.

People, we are not only killing ourselves with our Western diet, but we are killing our children.

New Zealand is one of the fattest nations in the world, despite our clean, green, outdoorsy image.   What kind of quality of life are these fat kids going to have?  They’re headed for serious health problems, let alone constant bullying in school and beyond.  I didn’t start putting on weight until I went to university, but let me tell you, it wasn’t fun being the ‘fat friend’ there.

I resolved on the spot to get myself to wellness, as hard a road as that may be.  It’s been niggling at me to make other changes in my diet, other than cutting out sugar.  Actually, when I say niggling, it’s more like God has been slapping me in the face with it.  Almost everything I read at the moment seems to be leading me to eat fewer carbs, eat screeds of veges and ditch the margarine(actually, I did that last one ages ago).

I suspect cutting down carbs is going to be even harder than quitting sugar.  I rely on bread and rice to fill me up.  I cannot function without vegemite on toast.  It’s the one food item in my life I simply must have.  When I lived in America and in Korea my parents would lovingly ship Vegemite to me when my supply ran out.  How can I start my day without it?

I finally read Nourishing Traditions, which talks about the necessity of eating animal fats – a bit like David Gillespie’s Big Fat Lies.  It was a great read (thanks R, have ordered my own copy) and it certainly turns the Western diet on its head.

I don’t know about you guys, but I find the information out there on what we ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be eating to be overwhelming.  I’ll read a book and think ‘yep, that makes sense to me’, and then read another good book that contradicts the first.  How is Joe Bloggs off the street supposed to make heads or tails of nutrition science?  It seems to me that anyone can cite studies that back up their particular message, while ignoring the ones that don’t.

Another question: if I cut down on carbs, how is my family who live on one-and-a-bit income supposed to afford lots of meat like my Paleo eating friends do?  And should I be anyway?   Argh, it just does my head in.

For me, I’m not going to try to do anything but get back to basics.  Food as it should be.  No sugar, no refined carbs.  Lots of veges.

Pass me the butter.